Origin of polyhalite deposits in the Zechstein (Upper Permian) Zdrada platform (northern Poland)



Polyhalite deposits in the Zechstein (Upper Permian) of northern Poland occur in the Lower Werra Anhydrite. In the Zdrada Sulphate Platform, the polyhalite appears to be a very early replacement of anhydrite. The replacement was caused by the halite-precipitating brines which contained potassium and magnesium ions. The formation of polyhalite was preceded by the syndepositional anhydritization of the original gypsum deposit which has often preserved its primary textures. This anhydritization on the platform and its slopes was a reaction of the precipitated gypsum in a hydrologically open evaporite basin, with brines of salt basins adjacent to the sulphate platform. These brines, when nearly saturated with respect to halite, and potassium and magnesium rich, reacted with anhydrite to precipitate polyhalite along the slopes of the Zdrada Platform. The oxygen and sulphur isotopic compositions of sulphate evaporites indicate that marine solutions were the only source of sulphate ions supplied to the Zechstein basin, and that anhydrite was transformed to polyhalite by reaction with marine brines more concentrated than those that precipitated precursor calcium sulphate minerals.